DJI has finally unveiled its latest drone, the Air 3, after much speculation and anticipation. As a supposed successor to the Air 2S, the Air 3 promises several upgrades and new features. However, upon closer examination, it becomes evident that this release is more of a marketing move rather than a truly innovative product.
But first, let’s watch the trailer launch:
One of the most hyped aspects of the Air 3 is its two-camera system, offering a main lens with a larger f/1.7 aperture and a 70mm telephoto lens with a smaller f/2.8 aperture. While this configuration does provide some versatility in shooting, it lacks the wow factor that one would expect from a new flagship drone.
The image quality is still commendable, but the fact that DJI has chosen to reuse the same telephoto lens found in the recent Mavic 3 Pro raises concerns. By recycling components from other models, the Air 3 fails to impress with a lack of innovation in its camera system. As a result, the drone ends up feeling like a compilation of previously seen features rather than a groundbreaking new release.
While the lens offers some new creative possibilities, it also has its downsides. The footage from the camera can look flat, lacking the stunning bokeh and separation between foreground and background that one would expect from a dedicated telephoto lens. Additionally, switching from the main lens to the telephoto lens may force users to increase the ISO, leading to more noise in the footage.
This minor flaw takes away from the overall filming experience, and one cannot help but wonder why DJI did not incorporate after-market ND filters to address this issue. Even better, the inclusion of built-in ND filters or a variable aperture system could have made the drone more appealing and user-friendly.
Beyond the camera upgrades, there is a lack of excitement surrounding the Air 3’s other features. The improved connectivity with Ocusync 4 and the new controller does little to set it apart from previous models. DJI’s OcuSync system has already proven its reliability, and connection issues are a thing of the past.
Battery life remains relatively unchanged, hovering around 45 minutes, which is standard for most of DJI’s drones. Although the drone world expected a breakthrough in battery technology, the Air 3 merely follows suit with its predecessors, leaving consumers underwhelmed.
Another drawback is the replacement of the D-Log color profile with D-Log M, a less flat variant. While D-Log M may be easier to color grade, it comes at the cost of noticeably reduced dynamic range. This change leaves drone enthusiasts disappointed as they lose the option to choose between the two color profiles that cater to different shooting preferences.
Furthermore, DJI’s claim of a 48MP photo mode remains elusive, with users unable to locate this feature in the drone’s menu. The absence of this mode leaves a sense of incompleteness and indicates that the Air 3 may not have been thoroughly optimized before its release.
In conclusion, the DJI Air 3 is undeniably a capable drone that performs well in many areas. However, its lack of true innovation and reliance on rehashed ideas make it a rather uninspiring release. The drone market expected something groundbreaking, yet the Air 3 fails to deliver on that front.
For the price tag of $1,099 or $1,349 for the Fly More Combo, consumers must carefully consider their options. They could opt for the smaller and lighter Mini 3 (version PRO il the best DJI drone in my opinion) with proper vertical filming, the superior image quality of the Mavic 3, or the Air 3’s versatility.
DJI’s Air 3 is undoubtedly not the revolutionary product many hoped for. As a drone professional, I yearn for new and exciting features that push the boundaries of aerial photography and videography. Let’s hope that in the future, DJI will surprise us with truly innovative products that redefine the drone industry.
Until then, we continue to fly with the tools at hand, waiting for that next big leap in drone technology (I hope not from DJI).
What do you think about this new drone? Let me know in the comment below